Struggling with your test automation strategy? You’re not alone. Most companies face numerous challenges when implementing a test automation strategy. However, there are ways to avoid many of these challenges, and reap the rewards of test automation.
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but we’ll say it again: a good test automation strategy is highly beneficial for any long-term software or mobile app development project.
Let’s face it, switching to test automation can be a struggle. If you don’t set it up the right way, you’ll continue to get the same poor results– only a lot faster. Errors during automation will also cost you double the effort since you’ll have to check those errors manually.
To achieve success when switching to test automation, it’s important to start right by going over these 7 considerations. Accepting and applying these considerations will help make that transition to automation easier for you and your entire team.
- Set realistic expectations.
While you can expect test automation to save you the time and effort it takes to do everything manually, it will not and should not be used for everything. Manual testing and test automation complement each other, and both play a role in ensuring the integrity and reliability of your software. Remember also that test automation can only be as good as the manual test it was based on. If you don’t have your manual testing done right in the first place, you can’t expect its automation to suddenly correct it.
The value of tests comes from the information they gather about software quality, not on the test coverage. Just because they are being automated does not always mean they will deliver more value. It’s crucial to set them up properly in order to obtain the right information. Only then can they deliver the best results and value.
- Know what’s worth automating.
It can be tempting to try and automate everything. However, automation is best reserved for long-term projects with more stable features, Agile setups, or tests that already have a defined test suite but have to be executed periodically and are very time-consuming. This makes regression testing the ideal target for automation. Manual regression testing is incredibly time-consuming and repetitive. Automating this would ensure that cases are executed the same way every time, thereby producing credible results. More time can then be allocated to other tasks that aren’t as automatable but are highly valuable, such as running performance tests.
- Everyone should be onboard.
Introducing test automation can be a big change for your organization. As such, not everyone may be on board with it. However, getting your entire team on the same page in acknowledging the value of test automation is important in implementing it successfully. A lot of planning and preparation must be done beforehand, especially if you outsource programming projects. Managers must properly equip their teams to handle any changes. Testers should have proper training, take a step back and assess their current ways of working, and see where processes can be improved. Throughout it all, both developers and testers should have a say, and the entire team should take ownership of the processes and product quality.
- Accountability isn’t diminished.
Even if automation is applied, testers should still be accountable and still have a say in how the pipeline is defined. They’re still accountable for product quality, and as such must be the ones who decide when automated tests should run, how often builds are pushed to test environments, and how test results are formatted and distributed. Test automation should only support the defined pipeline, not define it.
- Utilize domain knowledge as well as training.
Automation should be based on a tester’s knowledge about an application and how it should be tested. The development of automation cases and ensuring that automation becomes a part of the daily work routine requires the team’s collective knowledge. As such, it is important to nurture and value this domain knowledge, as this will become the basis of your software’s quality. This means that you should also keep your team’s skills updated through training. Doing so will allow you to maximize the benefits of automation.
- Choose the right automation tool and strategy.
Introducing automation comes with the risk of a long learning curve and/or technical challenges that are likely to take up too much of your team’s time. To avoid these, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate and select the right automation tool and strategy. The automation tool you choose should be a good fit in three areas: organization, processes, and technology. More important than choosing the right automation tool is picking the right automation strategy. There are a number of different strategies you can take, such as risk-based testing and the test automation pyramid. When it comes to your strategy, you need to focus on which strategies will work best for your team, and are most in line with your automation goals.
- Review your test code often.
Another risk that can come with automation: false positives and negatives that may or may not inform you of critical errors in your software. If these happen often, there might be a problem– and it could cause your entire team to lose confidence in automated test cases. For this reason, it’s important to review your test code regularly, as well as perform sanity tests. Only focusing on creating test cases and not frequently analyzing their value or their alignment with current business needs can make your efforts all for nothing.
Test automation is certainly a good step to take, but only if you’re smart about it. Start automating smart by keeping these 7 considerations in mind, and by having a reliable team with the right skills and knowledge. If you need help finding the right people for your team, CoDev can help. We have a broad talent pool and proven processes in place to find programmers, QA engineers, and other highly qualified IT professionals to complete your team. Talk to us today!